The Artisan Soul, a review

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“Fear is the Shadow of creativity. When we choose to create, we bring light to our fears.”

Erwin Raphael McManus

The Artisan Soul is a book for creatives. In saying that, in accordance with the premise of the book, it is therefore a book for everyone. McManus states that we are all actually creatives simply because we have been created and to create is a part of being human. He stands against the popular belief that creativity is a skill limited to the elite few who label themselves artists and live well off that. He argues that the human soul is creative and we just need to give ourselves the freedom and the grace to tap into it.

As a writer, my heart soars when I read this book. There is a huge sense of relief, a weight lifted off my shoulders. His words bring comfort to the forming artist inside me. As it turns out, I don’t have to earn my title by being successful in my ‘field’. In fact, failure (or lack of recognition perhaps) is often a part of art. In order to be an artist, a creative, I need to be bold enough to claim it and then make it a part of my life.

I asked a friend of mine recently how he decided to take the risk of trying to make a profession of his art. He is a photographer by trade and I worded the question along the lines of “How did you decide to BE a photographer… to live your art.” This friend tends to be philosophical almost all the time and so rather than answering my question directly he said this:

I do not want to be labelled by one specific type of art. I am an artist, not a photographer because, although photography is what I am currently doing, have a knack for and I’m being paid for, it is not the only thing that makes me an artist. My artisan soul can manifest itself in anything I decided to put my mind to – any medium I chose. I’m  not saying that I would be an expert in every artistic field, but rather that the type of art I produce is not the goal. The goal is to express my creativity because that is what drives me – that’s what drives all artists.

This book speaks along the same lines. In finding our individual voices, our mediums, what we love, we learn to express the artisan soul within us. To call yourself an artist is not pretentious, nor does it create the expectation that you have to become famous for your art. It should make your heart flutter, make you sit up straighter, make you want to form something, in whatever way you want to express it.

McManus says “to create is to be human. To create is to fulfil our divine intention. To create is to reflect the image of God. To create is an act of worship. So, who is an artist? Anyone with a soul.”

With his book, McManus is changing the face of creativity in the faith-world. And I believe those of us who feel the significance of creativity in our lives already, are standing with him.


Purchase The Artisan Soul on Amazon at


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